It’s one of those times in life when the dirtier you get the better you’ll feel. Brave souls are invited to run, jump, crawl, climb and slog through miles of mud and craziness in the first annual Rough ‘N Tough Mudder Against Hunger on Saturday, July 21.
The 3.1-mile course will offer 22 obstacles with names like the Sewer Crawl, Spider Web, Swamp Monster and the Big Turd on the property of event sponsor New Hope Community Church, 33030 Vickers St. SE, Cambridge.
All net proceeds from the first-ever local mud run will go to Family Pathways Hunger Relief.
Crazier than corn
For the past few years, the church has been growing and selling sweet corn and donating $6,000 to $8,000 per year to Family Pathways, but decided to try something different this summer.
According to Robin Wetther, coordinator of the event, the idea came from lead pastor Bill Berg.
“Bill came to us in November when were we going to start planning our 5k for the Harbor Room, and he was like, ‘Hey, I want to bring a mudder here and replace the corn.’ We all went, What? Are you kidding? That’s a big deal.’”
But staff got on board and began planning, including doing extensive online research into what kinds of obstacles other mud runs were doing, what has worked other places and what has not.
A website created for the event at roughntoughmudder.org lists all the obstacles (subject to change) and a description of each.
Participants can expect to climb over hay bales, walk the plank over a pond while being blasted by Nerf guns, leap over fire, scale a 12-foot wall, take a cruise on the slip-n-slide and, of course, do some belly surfing in the mud pit.
Two obstacles over the church’s 4-foot-deep pond include the risk of falling in, so lifeguards will be standing by. The course also passes through a marsh, zig-zags through ditches and along a roadway.
The event is not timed, and runners can opt to skip any obstacle they don’t want to attempt.
Check-in on race day begins at 7:30 a.m. at the church. Waves of runners will begin at 9 a.m., and run in groups of up to 40 people at 15-minute intervals until 2 p.m. or until all have run.
Participants must be age 12 or older. Those aged 12-18 must have a parent/guardian-signed release, which can be done on race day.
There will be observation areas along the route for family and friends to hang out and watch the fun. The event is alcohol-free and family-friendly.
Participants and guests can grab a bite at one of three food trucks on-site serving southwestern, Tex-Mex-style food, gyros or brats and burgers.
Shawn Sullivan, the “Happy Trucker” with KBEK radio station, will serve as Master of Ceremonies and keep things rolling and the music pumping.
For a $5 fee, participants can leave their car keys, phone, wallet, etc., at the secure bag drop and collect it after the race. They can clean off at the rinse station and change in the men’s or women’s changing tents. There will even be an ATM on-site.
“We’ll make sure customer service is really high – that’s one of our priorities,” Wetther said. “We don’t want anyone feeling lost or confused. Everyone will be well-informed, making it as easy as possible for participants to come in and have a great time.”
Volunteers still needed
According to Wetther, the event will require about 100 volunteers to provide that great customer service. Most of those signed up are attendees at New Hope, but there’s still the opportunity for more people to help out with parking, greeting, overseeing the obstacles, offering medical service and more.
Volunteers will be given vouchers for a free meal at the food trucks and will also be able to run the course at a volunteer and sponsor event on Wednesday, July 18.
“We have a few volunteers that said they really wanted to do the event but also volunteer,” Wetther said. “So volunteers and sponsors can come out and walk the course (at the thank you event). That’ll give us a test run too if there are any kinks to work out.”
Those interested in volunteering can contact Wetther at 763-552-7979 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
She made it clear that volunteering and participating in the mud run is open to everyone.
“It’s not just for New Hope,” she said. “It’s about making a difference. It shows that we love our community, and we want to see people who are hungry get food.”